The two-person showcase casts Washington (the Malcolm half of the title) as a director, returning dwelling from a premiere of his debut film together with his glamorous girlfriend, Zendaya’s Marie. While he alternately exults and rails towards “the white girl” movie critic on the L.A. Times, she’s sullen and offended, for causes that can regularly (very regularly) be defined.
Malcolm spends a lot of time speaking concerning the nature of artwork and referencing nice administrators of the previous, lamenting the impulse to squeeze motion pictures into identifiable packing containers. Yet the filmmaker and film that the majority involves thoughts goes unmentioned: Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories,” one other black-and-white portrait of an angst-ridden auteur, and an earlier train in this kind of self-indulgence.
The characters battle bitterly — unleashing lengthy monologues, essentially the most impressively breathless being Malcolm’s rant about an early evaluate — make up nearly out of sheer exhaustion, then abruptly argue some extra. Similarly, Marie can go from praising Malcolm’s work to tearing it aside at a second’s discover.
It’s all very showy, superbly shot, and in the end irritating and headache inducing, largely as a result of the script makes even the feelings and grievances that get vented unconvincing regardless of the sturdy performances, pouring out as they do in intermittent bursts.
Couched that manner “Malcolm & Marie” is arguably value watching — a minimum of, a couple of minutes value of it — with out actually needing to see it cross the end line.
“Nothing productive is going to be said tonight,” Marie says quietly when Malcolm begins to probe what’s bugging her after they get dwelling.
Alas, when the shouting’s over, these become the truest phrases spoken.
“Malcolm & Marie” premieres Feb. 5 on Netflix. It’s rated R.